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2 Science and Science Education in the United States Major Points in Chapter 2 Research and development (R&D) have become more internationally distributed even as R&D in the United States has grown substantially in scale and scope. Despite recent increases in some measures of scientific and mathematical proficiency, U.S. students on average still lag behind their international counterparts in some areas, and major gaps persist between groups in the U.S. population. Opportunities to participate in practice teaching and professional development are unevenly distributed and insufficient to transform the knowledge and skills of teachers as a whole. Parents recognize the need for improved science and mathematics education but tend to be satisfied with the amount of science and mathematics their own children study in school. Students and parents in other countries tend to associate success in science and mathematics not with innate talent but with the effort invested in those subjects. The National Science Board has identified better coordination and more effective teaching as the greatest needs of the U.S. educational system. Every two years the National Science Foundation releases THE R&D ENTERPRISE a new edition of its Science and Engineering Indica- Based on 2002 data, the amount spent on research and tors. Kathryn Sullivan, director of the Battelle Center for development (R&D) by European nations as a whole and by Mathematics and Science Education Policy at Ohio State Asian nations as a whole nearly matched the amount spent in University, led off the workshop by presenting some of the North America, which represents a significant expansion of data from the 2008 Indicators that are especially pertinent to R&D expenditures in Europe and Asia. âThe R&D enterprise science and science education in the United States. is becoming more of a shared enterprise,â said Sullivan, with âgreater competency, greater depth, and greater expenditures National Science Board. 2008. Science and Engineering Indicators in more regions now than ever before in history.â However, 2008. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.
STRENGTHENING HIGH SCHOOL CHEMISTRY EDUCATION there have been some notable exceptions to the general 80 increase in R&D expenditures outside the United States. Defense Nondefense 70 Japanese expenditures, for example, which increased dra- Health Space matically in earlier years, stagnated in the early 2000s. 60 Energy General science Constant 2000 dollars (billions) In 1980, approximately 31 percent of the people in the 50 world with education beyond high school lived in the United States. By 2000, that number was down to 27 percent. During 40 that period, Chinaâs share of the total increased from 5.4 to 30 10.8 percent, while Japanâs share dropped from 9.9 percent 20 to 6.4 percent. The United States still has a greater absolute number of people with college education than any other 10 country, but Asian countries as a whole are rapidly increase 0 their percentage of the total. 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 Similarly, universities in the United States still award more doctoral degrees in the natural sciences and engineer- FIGURE 2.2â Federal R&D in billions of constant 2000 dollars has ing than those in any other countryâa total of more than fluctuated since 1980, with a sharp increase in the first years of the New 2-2 20,000 in 2005 (Figure 2.1). However, the number awarded new century. SOURCE: National Science Board. 2008. Science in China has grown very rapidly since the early 1990s, while and Engineering Indicators 2008. Two volumes. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation (volume 1, NSB 08-01; volume 2, the number of Ph.D.s awarded in other countries has been NSB 08-01A). stable or slowly rising. Federal R&D expenditures have risen substantially in the United States since 1980, driven partly by a major increase in spending on health-related R&D (Figure 2.2). Defense R&D, which is predominantly development funding, also has science and technology runs counter to what she sometimes risen dramatically over that period, with an especially sharp hears from students, Sullivan said. Students âseem to have increase since the terrorist attacks of 2001. a sense that these are not good-earning jobsâand perhaps The growth of employment in science and engineer- theyâre not, compared to financial services or top-tier jobs on ing fields has outpaced job growth in other sectors of the Wall Street. But against the broad backdrop of the U.S. labor economy for decades (Figure 2.3). Furthermore, the earning pool, [there are] sustained job growth and better financial power of workers with science and engineering degrees, prospects for graduates with science and engineering degrees regardless of the area in which they work, is higher than for than for those who lack [them]. The data are quite clear and their peers in other areas. The earning potential of jobs in strongly sustained over many decades in that regard.â 25 6 U.S. All S&T Employees Germany UK S&E 5 20 Japan Life Scientists South Korea China Physical Scientists 4 Engineers Employees (millions) 15 Mathematics/Information T hous ands Technologists 3 Technicians 10 2 5 1 0 0 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 FIGURE 2.1â The United States and China now account for the largest number of doctoral degrees 2-1 New awarded in the natural sciences FIGURE 2.3â Science and technology employment has risen New 2-3 and engineering. SOURCE: National Science Board. 2008. Sci- dramatically in the past half century. SOURCE: National Science ence and Engineering Indicators 2008. Two volumes. Arlington, Board. 2008. Science and Engineering Indicators 2008. Two vol- VA: National Science Foundation (volume 1, NSB 08-01; volume umes. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation (volume 1, NSB 2, NSB 08-01A). 08-01; volume 2, NSB 08-01A).
SCIENCE AND SCIENCE EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES People with science and engineering degrees work in 60 every major sector of the economy: management, finance, 1990 2000 2005 information, government, education, manufacturing, and 50 various technical services. Even among employees with doctoral degrees, only 44 percent work in college and uni- 40 versity settings, while 33 work in the for-profit sector. Also, Percent 30 the number of jobs in all sectors of the economy that require the equivalent of a bachelorâs degree in science or engineer- 20 ing is growing. People with science and engineering degrees are not confined to laboratories or professional service firms, 10 Sullivan said. âThereâs good employment throughout the economy.â 0 Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12 Mathematics K-12 EDUCATION 60 1990 2000 2005 Among the new data available in the 2008 Indicators are 50 longitudinal data on the concepts and skills that students master as they move through the early grades. For example, 40 more than 90 percent of fifth graders are proficient in mul- Percent 30 tiplication and division, but only about 40 percent are profi- cient in rates and measurements, while the proficiency level 20 for fractions in the fifth grade is barely above 10 percent. Among twelfth graders, 96 percent are proficient in simple 10 arithmetic operation on whole numbers, but only 79 percent are proficient in simple operations with decimals, fractions, 0 powers, and roots, and only 4 percent are proficient in solving Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12 Science complex multistep word problems. The overall proficiency level in mathematics has been FIGURE 2.4â Proficiency in mathematics has risen for fourth and New 2-4 climbing in the fourth and eighth grades since 1990, but it has eighth graders since 1990 but has remained largely stable in science. been stable at those grades in science, and twelfth-grade pro- SOURCE: National Science Board. 2008. Science and Engineering ficiency in science has fallen somewhat since 1996 (Figure Indicators 2008. Two volumes. Arlington, VA: National Science 2.4). âWeâre not making the progress that we claim to and Foundation (volume 1, NSB 08-01; volume 2, NSB 08-01A). are working to make when it comes to science proficiency,â said Sullivan. Boys and girls start kindergarten at about the same level overall in mathematics performance. By the end of fifth As in mathematics, new tests in science measure different grade, average boysâ gains are greater than girlsâ by a small aspects of proficiency, such as making inferences, under- margin. With respect to race and ethnicity, average perfor- standing relationships, interpreting scientific data, forming mance gaps already exist in kindergarten and widen across hypotheses, developing plans, and investigating specific sci- the full span of grades. By fifth grade, the average score for entific questions. Again, boys show slightly higher average a black student is equivalent to the average score for a white scores in third grade and maintain a small difference through third-grader. Students with mothers who have higher levels fifth grade. By third grade, white and Asian-American stu- of education start kindergarten with higher scores than stu- dents are higher in average score than African Americans dents whose mothers have less education, and these gaps also and Hispanics, and by fifth grade, none of these gaps have increase through fifth grade. The same observation is seen narrowed. for families with incomes below the poverty line compared The numbers of high school students who have taken to families above the poverty line. specific courses in most of the sciences and engineering have One interesting finding is that these gaps correlate strongly grown since 1990 (Figure 2.5). For example, the number with loss of learning during the summer. Lower- and upper- taking chemistry rose from 44 percent in 1990 to 55 per- income students make similar gains during the school year, cent in 2000 before falling off slightly in 2005. Similarly, but lower-income students experience sharper declines in the number taking advanced biology (where âadvancedâ is performance over the summer while upper-income students defined as courses that not all students are required to take) do not fall back as sharply. rose from 26 percent in 1990 to 39 percent in 2005. This is an important trend, said Sullivan, because taking advanced
STRENGTHENING HIGH SCHOOL CHEMISTRY EDUCATION 70 1975 1985 1995 2005 100 White, non-Hispanic 92 60 88 90 90 87 88 85 86 Black, non-Hispanic 84 85 85 81 Hispanic 80 50 Asian/Pacific Islander 70 70 70 67 62 63 40 60 Percent Percent 50 30 40 30 20 20 10 10 0 0 All races/ethnicities White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Hispanic Advanced Any chemistry Any physics Environmental Engineering Engineering or biology science science technologies FIGURE 2.6â The high school completion rates of minorities have increased substantially since 1975. These rates measure the per- New 2.5 New 2.6 centage of 18- to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in high school FIGURE 2.5â The percentages of high school graduates who have taken advanced science and engineering courses have increased and hold a high school diploma or equivalent credential such as a since 1990. SOURCE: National Science Board. 2008. Science general equivalency diploma certificate. SOURCE: National Sci- and Engineering Indicators 2008. Two volumes. Arlington, VA: ence Board. 2008. Science and Engineering Indicators 2008. Two National Science Foundation (volume 1, NSB 08-01; volume 2, volumes. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation (volume 1, NSB 08-01A). NSB 08-01; volume 2, NSB 08-01A). courses is correlated with higher rates of college enrollment, TEACHERS higher rates of success in first-year college courses such as The 2008 Indicators has several new types of information college algebra, and a greater likelihood of further workforce about the preparation and quality of teachers, including infor- training. Completing advanced mathematics classes in high mation on pre-service education, practice teaching, degree school also is directly associated with womenâs majoring attainment, and certification status. in mathematics and science in college at higher rates. âAn Mathematics and science teachers with fewer than five important leverage point if we want to move more women years of teaching experience who report having practice into chemistry or any other field in college is to be sure that teaching opportunities were more likely than teachers who weâre working hard on giving them a strong core curricu- did not have practice teaching opportunities to have learned lum in math, certainly in high school, and setting them up about different pedagogical techniques, such as assessing strongly for that in middle school.â students and using a wide variety of instructional materials. High school completion rates of 18- to 24-year-olds The percentage of teachers who report having done practice increased from 84 to 88 percent from 1975 to 2005 (Figure teaching is inversely related to the concentration of minor- 2.6). These rates went up much more for African Americansâ ity and poor students in schools, so the teachers of minority from 70 to 86 percentâand for Hispanicsâfrom 62 to 70 and poor students are less likely to have engaged in practice percentâthan for other groups over that period. Yet âthis is teaching. âWe are shorting our students and giving our early one of those indicators that becomes striking when we place career teachers a much harder hill to climb when we donât ourselves in the international comparison,â Sullivan said. give them practice teaching opportunities,â Sullivan said. When compared with 22 other OECD (Organisation for New indicators also show that more than 90 percent of Economic Co-operation and Development) countries using teachers report participating over the past year in profes- similar measures of graduation ratesâwith Norway first and sional development activities consisting of short-duration Mexico lastâthe United States is sixth from the bottom. workshops, conferences, and training seminars (Figure 2.7). Finally, in international comparisons of mathematical Yet many years of evidence show that more than 40 to 50 and scientific proficiency, U.S. students do quite well in the hours of professional development and continuity of training fourth grade. Eighth graders are still holding their own with are essential to have an effect on teacher practice, teacher respect to mathematics and science. However, high school competency, and improving a teacherâs content knowledge, students do markedly less well in international comparisons, Sullivan observed. In contrast, only about a third were able especially when tests measure the ability to apply knowledge to access university courses related to teaching, and about the gained in school to less familiar problems. same percentages were able to engage in research on a topic of interest. Also, teachers report participating in an average of just 32 hours of subject matter professional development.
SCIENCE AND SCIENCE EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES 100 Mathematics Science Other three or more years of both mathematics and science for high 91 91 92 90 school graduation, even though many national reports and 80 organizations have identified that amount of mathematics and 70 science as an essential core curriculum in the subjects. 60 In national surveys, 67 percent of Americans say that greatly increasing the number and quality of mathematics Percent 50 40 37 38 43 and science courses would improve high school education, 36 35 32 and 62 percent say it is crucial for most students to learn 30 21 higher mathematics skills. Yet when parents are asked about 20 16 14 their own children, they tend to say that they are satisfied 10 with the amount of mathematics and science they study in 0 Workshops, University courses Observational visits to Engaging in research school. Furthermore, today 20 percent fewer respondents conferences, training sessions related to teaching other schools on a topic of interest feel that children are not taught enough mathematics and science than in 1994. One difficulty, said Sullivan, is that education in the United FIGURE 2.7â More than 90 percent 2.7 public middle and high New of school teachers report participating in workshops, conferences, and States is the equivalent of a radically divided market because training sessions over the past 12 months, with smaller percent- it takes place in 16,000 largely autonomous school districts. ages participating in other professional development experiences. If a new drug is developed by a pharmaceutical company, SOURCE: National Science Board. 2008. Science and Engineering it can be approved by the Food and Drug Administration Indicators 2008. Two volumes. Arlington, VA: National Science (FDA) and then sold to everyone in the United States. But Foundation (volume 1, NSB 08-01; volume 2, NSB 08-01A). âif you have figured out the equivalent of . . . the latest cure in science education, you must, in a sense, persuade 16,000 FDAs that this is the antidote to their ills. And therein lies one dimension of what makes this problem so massive.â âSo weâre only about halfway there in terms of the number PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND EXPECTATIONS of hours we probably should be providing to our teachers to improve skills in the classroom.â Polls show that the general publicâs primary source of Sullivan made a personal plea to focus on the middle information about scientific issues is the Internet, followed school years. Scientists in colleges and universities tend to by television, books, and magazines and newspapers (Figure focus on high school because courses organized by discipline 2.8). The Internet and television have been capturing the appear at that level, but âmiddle school, in my opinion, is attention of rising percentages of the public, while books the sweet spot.â Those are the years when children decide have fallen precipitously (the proportion of those who say whether they are good at mathematics and science and start that books are their primary source of scientific information making choices accordingly. Science and mathematics decreased from more than 20 percent in 2001 to less than 10 teachers in high school tend to have more skills than the percent in 2006). corresponding teachers in middle schools, depending on Knowledge of scientific facts and processes among the the socioeconomic status of the school. âI urge you to think general public in the United States correlates closely with about ways that you can . . . coordinate efforts to impact the attitudes toward science. People who know more about sci- preparation and skills of middle school teachers,â she said. ence tend to believe that it has a positive role in society and Local scientific societies, science museums, colleges and has the potential to contribute to the public good. universities, and technology-based businesses all can help With regard to student attitudes, confidence in being improve the skills, knowledge, and confidence of middle able to do mathematics or science correlates positively school teachers. âYouâll have more kids to impact in high with achievement within countries. Yet across countries, school if you can have a leverage effect at the middle school confidence is negatively correlated with achievement. In grades.â other words, U.S. students with reported higher levels of confidence scored lower than students in other countries who reported themselves to be less confident. For example, CURRICULUM STANDARDS 39 percent of U.S. students said that they usually do well in States recently have been improving their standards for mathematics, while just 4 percent of students in Japan said K-12 education and bringing a better consistency to review- the same. Yet the average mathematics score in the United ing and revising these standardsâdespite periodic calls for States was considerably lower than that in Japan. teaching intelligent design creationism in science class- âWe tend to believe that a large determinant of a studentâs rooms. Yet just slightly more than half of the states require success in school is ability,â Sullivan said. âIn many other
STRENGTHENING HIGH SCHOOL CHEMISTRY EDUCATION ogy, Engineering, and Mathematics Education System, says 60 that the nation faces two central challenges in constructing a 2001 2004 2006 strong and coordinated STEM education system. The United 50 States needs to achieve greater coherence in STEM learning, including enhanced horizontal coordination and vertical 40 alignment among educational systems. The nation also needs to ensure an adequate supply of well-prepared and highly effective teachers. Percent 30 The NSB directed attention to issues that influence the quality of the teaching force in the United States, including 20 compensation, stronger pre-service and in-service teacher education, increased teacher mobility between districts, and 10 greater commonality of national teacher certification stan- dards. The board recommended establishing an independent, 0 Internet Books Television Magazines Newspapers non-federal, national council that could coordinate and facili- tate STEM programs and initiatives throughout the nation FIGURE 2.8â Use as the primary source of information about spe- while also informing policy makers and the public about the New 2.8 cific scientific issues for Americans has decreased for books and state of STEM education in the United States. The council has increased for the Internet and television. SOURCE: National would include representatives from foundations, higher edu- Science Board. 2008. Science and Engineering Indicators 2008. cation, business and industry, state and local governments, Two volumes. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation (volume Congress, the executive branch, STEM educators, disciplin- 1, NSB 08-01; volume 2, NSB 08-01A). ary scientists, informal STEM educators, and other organiza- tions. The council could strengthen the linkage between high school education and the workforce, in part by working with cultures and countries, it is perceived and believed that the K-16 STEM-focused councils in each state. correlation is with effort, with work, with investment, and self-discipline.â THE LOSS OF LEADERSHIP In the 2007 report Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, a committee of prominent national leaders stated, âWe fear the abruptness with which a lead in science and technology can be lostâand the difficulty of recovering a lead once lost, if indeed it can be regained at all.â Sullivan pointed out that there remains a very sharp divide between the perceptions of leaders in the United States and the percep- tions of parents. Even though most parents know that more mathematics and science are needed for students, they tend not to extend that reasoning to their own children. The National Science Board (NSB), which Sullivan vice chairs, recently reviewed the past three decades of reports on education in science, technology, engineering, and math- ematics (STEM) and, responding to a congressional request, developed a plan to âconvert all those grand words into some forward action.â The boardâs report, National Action Plan for Addressing the Critical Needs of the U.S. Science, Technol- National Research Council. 2007. Rising Above the Gathering Storm: National Science Board. 2007. National Action Plan for Addressing the Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. Wash- Critical Needs of the U.S. Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathemat- ington, DC: The National Academies Press. ics Education System. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.